Can Android Tablets Find a Market?

8 Comments

A handful of Android-based tablets will be released over the next few months, offering bigger screens and a more immersive experience than smartphones and eschewing bulky QWERTY keyboards in favor of touchscreen navigation. But is the Android operating system enough to entice users to pony up a few hundred dollars for the gadgets?

Dell (s dell) is rumored to be the next player to join the space at CES in Las Vegas early next year, introducing a device with a 5-inch screen targeted at UK users. If that’s true, the handset would join a rapidly increasing number of Android tablets such as Fusion Garage’s JooJoo, the Archos 5, Camangi’s WebStation and IDC’s Vega. While price points have yet to be announced for some of the gadgets, the Android tablets generally fall in the $250-$500 range. They’ll compete against the Courier, which is being developed by Microsoft (s msft) , and a rumored Apple (s aapl) tablet said to resemble a larger iPod touch and carry a $1,000 price tag.

Sizes can vary dramatically between some of the new tablets, but many are more closely related to mobile Internet devices (MIDs) like the iPod touch than to the larger tablets of a few years ago. With the exception of the touch, though, MIDs have largely failed to gain traction due largely to high price points, a lack of overall functionality and the apparent unwillingness of consumers to carry a connected device in addition to a phone.

That may change, though, as VoIP and other technologies bring voice support to non-cellular mobile devices. As Kevin over at jkOnTheRun noted yesterday, Google (s goog) Talk can be an effective replacement for cellular connectivity, allowing users to easily “call” others with minimal losses in call quality. If Google or another player can bring easy-to-use voice offerings to the new wave of Android tablets — and if Google would add support for the Android Market without forcing users to jump through hoops to access the storefront — the tablet/MID space might finally produce more than just one winner.

8 Comments

james braselton

hi there you are right becuase most tablets can be ordered with a lighting fast ssd solid state flash drive not spinning hard drives i like ssd over hdd too bad microsoft dose not want ssd netbooks or hybride ssd/hdd netbooks i only want fast not slow like i realy want a 10,000 or 15,000 rpm hard drive in a netboook or a tablet when will the micro laser hard drives come out at 160 tb/s or 160 terabytes per second

Tom B

For sure, Android tablets would be better than 1980’s-like relics, like the Kindle, but, in turn, Droid phones are pretty lame and thin in functionality compared to the iPhone. If Apple did an iPhone-like tablet, the only way Droid would sell any tablets would be to sell them for basically no margin– a loser’s game.

Nicholas

I am interested in the primary education market and a tablet is critical to content models being outlined. An Android tablet offers a profile that is smaller than a netbook, and potentially my useful for things we consider to be extra-educational. While my prototypes are centered on the iTablet in general, moving to Android would be easy once the development capabilities are established. The platform also offers likely cost benefits over an Apple product.

Without content, most of these products are not as useful as we would imagine. Games, magazines, ebooks and other more print-centric types of media need to be in place before the products hit, otherwise they don’t have a use. Sure, I’ll surf on a tablet. Will I buy a tablet to surf? Probably not.

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